Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Mother and baby among dead as Hurricane Florence lashes United States coast

Watch Hurricane Florence Make Landfall in This Incredible Space Station Video Hurricane Florence Hits Near Wrightsville Beach
Freda Brock | 15 September, 2018, 08:16

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WILMINGTON, NC - SEPTEMBER 14: Firefighters look into a home that a large tree fell on that has three people trapped after Hurricane Florence hit the area on September 14, 2018 in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Hurricane Florence on Friday claimed its first fatalities, including a mother and her baby, as the monster storm walloped the US East Coast and parked over the Carolinas, threatening days of torrential rain and severe flooding. The father was transported to a hospital for treatment.

Pender County Emergency Management Director Tom Collins confirmed to WWAY that a woman was killed in Hempstead, Pender County after suffering a heart attack in her home.

Two people died in Lenoir County. North Carolina corrections officials said more than 3,000 people were relocated from adult prisons and juvenile centers in the path of Florence, and more than 300 county prisoners were transferred to state facilities.

It remains a Category 1 hurricane with top sustained winds of 90 miles per hour (150 kph), but a gust of 112 miles per hour (180 kph) was reported just offshore.

After that, Florence is forecast to move northwest and north and move across western SC on Sunday, Sept. 15, and across western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee on Monday, Sept. 16, the NHC said.

People in the storm's path shared video on social media of the now-Category 1 hurricane's still-intense 90 miles per hour (150 km/h) winds as the eyewall moved through Wilmington, North Carolina.

Florence had been downgraded to a Category One hurricane before landfall, but forecasters say it is still capable of delivering a lethal punch.

On Thursday evening, the Neuse River burst its banks which caused rapid flooding in New Bern, North Carolina, forcing residents to flee as the entire city lost power.

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The City of New Bern said in a tweet before dawn Friday that there were about 150 people who still needed swift-water rescue. "These are folks who chose to stay and ride out the storm for whatever reason, despite having a mandatory evacuation", city public information officer Colleen Roberts said. "These are folks who are maybe in one-story buildings and they're seeing the floodwaters rise".

Municipal power agencies are reporting few outages, except New Bern, which had 17,820 customers without power, according to ElectriCities, the organization that supports the local power agencies. They ventured out in life jackets into waste-deep water to tie the boat and another floating by to a tree. "We got thrown into mailboxes, houses, trees", said Holt, who had stayed at home because of a doctor's appointment that was later cancelled.

"This storm has been hovering over us for a while, and we expect it to continue to hover over us", Parker said. His mom remembers Hurricane Hazel, when the water did not rise as high as his fifth step, where it was Thursday night.

The group, which included an infant, children and pets, have been taken to the Jacksonville Center for Public Safety after portions of the roof collapsed. Numerous evacuees took their pets. Trump planned a visit to the region next week.

By Friday evening, almost 640,000 people in North Carolina alone were without power.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com said Florence could dump a staggering 18 trillion gallons of rain over a week on North Carolina, South Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland.

It was expected to begin pushing its way westward across SC later in the day, in a watery siege that could go on all weekend.

But forecasters say Florence's biggest threat, as with all hurricanes, lies in its water: a storm surge of up to 11 feet and rainfall that will trigger catastrophic flooding.

Several million people could lose power by the time Florence sloshes its way through the state.

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